Solo Female Traveller on the Move

Do you ever find you get so caught up in the destination that the journey is of little or no consequence?

That’s how I felt while planning this trip. I was so focused on arriving in  New Orleans and what I would do while I was there that I had not considered the journey getting there.

After voicing my plans to friends and family, a few of them mentioned alternate forms of transport while in the United States. Now I’m not new to this I’ve done my fair share of 10-hour Greyhound journeys and short flights from city to city. But there is one option I’ve never wholly considered as part of my journey. Trains! Continue reading

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Next Adventure…

Since I moved home last December, I have been champing at the bit to go and explore again. I find it very hard to stay in one place, it is especially hard because I have so many friends all over the world.

Can’t we all just live on the same street and then we can hang out all the time!!!!

So to calm my overactive wanderlust I am planning a month long trip around to see some friends and explore some new places.

First things first ….

I’m going to America again, for a whole month in June. Well ok, not quite true I’m going to America for 3 weeks and then Brisbane Australia for a week.

So I’ve been planning my next foray into the good ole US of A. I’m going mainly to see some of my friends as now since I’ve moved home I don’t get to see them anymore.

Every time I go I try to hit at least one city where I haven’t been before,

It has been my dream for a long time to do the route 66 across America, sadly I not doing that this time either….

So my time off from work has been officially approved and this is my itinerary so far:

June 4th – leaving New Zealand at 6am!!! To arrive in Chicago at 3pm

June 4th – 8pm Amtrak train from Chicago to New Orleans

June 5th – 9th – New Orleans, I’m staying at The Hotel Modern which looks like super cute and very centrally located in the arts/warehouse district of New Orleans

June 9th – flying to Orlando at 8pm arriving around 10:30pm-ish

June 9th – 22nd – Orlando; seeing my friends!!!

June 22nd – Flying to Brisbane takes 2 days!!!!

June 24th – July 3rd – Brisbane

Side Trip: June 29th – July 1st – Airlie Beach

July 4th – Arrive back in New Zealand.

I bought the Lonely Planet Pocket New Orleans book to do some in-depth research. I also got the tourism department to send a free guide to the city as well! but since I’m travelling by myself and I’ve never been to New Orleans before I’m thinking about a couple of tours, mainly a bike tour to see much of the city as possible, I’m also thinking about a cocktail tour? Or a cemetery/voodoo tour because they sound hilariously amazing!!

here are  a few tours i’m thinking of participating in:

Bike Tour

Walking Cemetery Tour

Cooking Demonstration Class

Of course I will update you step by step while I’m on holiday so keep an eye on this space!

I am also looking into going to Japan at the end of the year, and so am currently doing lots of research and trying to learn Japanese as well!!!

I’m really considering starting a vlog of my travels, so if you have any ideas or tips, would you watch it? let me know!

Contract 2 In Review

So my second contract aboard the Disney dream has come to a close on November 13th 2015.

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So without further ado lets a take a trip down memory lane.

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May 2015

If you read my last post you know this contract didn’t start off on the best foot. With an all-time low of throwing up in Walmart. However once I made it back on board things quickly right themselves and it was like I had never left.  It was amazing to see some of the amazing people I met on my first contract. To be honest the people is the best part of ship life.

Right as I got on board the department was interviewing for various step up positions. I put my name forward and interviewed for guest services Systems Coordinator and the Clearance Officer. However I was u successful for either position. During the feedback I was advised that 2 new positions were up coming and that I should try out for those.

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June 2015

I feel that I got to experience more things this contract, we had a report competition where I won a full day off!!! Best welcome back ever! Our whole team had a port adventure which was amazing being able to have all the hosts participate. As the guest services area is the only department which I 24 hours so there is always someone needed on board at all time.

I was also the Guest Services Host of the Month for the month of June! This meant my picture on the wall, a half day off and a $50 Merchandise voucher. I worked so hard for this and it felt really amazing to have it pay off and get the recognition from my head of department.

July 2015

July passed with no outstanding moments. I applied for the roles of Crew Office Assistant and Guest Services Coordinator but yet again was declined for both positions. This was really demotivating, I was working my butt off to bring everything I could to the team and the guests and to be passed over yet again I really struggled to pull myself up and find a reason to be happy on board.

Life on board is crazy and insulated. With 2 cruises a week you are so busy and run off your feet that the days usually only consist of eat work sleep. Working in guest services can be very rewarding with guest letters and solving challenges but it is also very stressful. I honestly believe that no one in the guest services department is aid nearly high enough for what they are put through on a daily basis. In a standard 10 hour shift you ca be yelled and screamed at, told that you personally ruined their vacation, be brought to tears and watch you fellow crew members be abused by people who have no filter and do anything they can to get something for free.

August 2015

August was another null month. I did a lot of online shopping as I struggled to get my schedule to allow anytime to get off the ship while in Port Canaveral. For the month of July I came 2nd place for Guest Services Host of the month which is a $50 merchandise voucher. By this point in my contract I had lost all interest in still being on board. I was over the hours and the constant push to give more and more with our receiving anything else in return. At the end of august the position for guest services coordinator was once again opened for application. These positions are on a 2 month rotation so that there is a chance to learn more and improve your skills for the team. I almost didn’t apply because I didn’t feel that I wanted to push myself more for a company that had no interest in me or how y time on board was impacting my life. However my boss pulled me aside for an interview. I was lucky enough to be picked to be the coordinator and it really changed my outlook.

September 2015

September was crazy, I love my new position I organised and hosted 4 team events we had a spa night, a crepe and wine night and then 2 inter departmental functions one with housekeeping and one with merchandise.

About half way through the month I had an accident. I was getting y morning coffee from the officers mess and I tripped s I was going down the stairs.  I landed at the bottom and had to be taken to medical. While at medical I received x-rays and a visit from the staff captain. Luckily I didn’t break any bones I just ended up with some wicked bruises. And of course yet another accident prone feather in my cap as a couple of weeks earlier I had also sprained my ankle.

October was dry dock so most of September was spent getting rid of our back stocks of paperwork and clearing out cabinets.

October 2015

Most of this month was taken up with 3 weeks of dry dock. I’ll do a separate post about dry dock as it was definitely an experience and I won’t say I enjoyed every moment of it.

The only real good thig about October is we got a lot more time off ad my contract finishes in November. I had booked an amazing vacation to the Dominican Republic and Orlando before finally heading home.

November 2015

Man this month was hella stressful. Everything about my vacation planning blew up in my face at one point or another. Every time I thought I had it sorted something else would happen. First I had to cancel my hotel I the Dominican because of a booking error, then they couldn’t find my flight change request and I was booked to fly back to New Zealand a soon as I debarked the ship instead of Dec 5th like I had planned. The last drama happened in the 2 days before I was leaving the ship it was a bout customs and travelling on a C1/D visa not a tourist visa. While this was happening I was also training my replacement coordinator and packing my bags to leave the ship.

All in all I accomplished everything I set out to do this contract my reasons for going back were

  • Step up to Coordinator (check)
  • Experience Dry Dock ( check)
  • Complete a Full year with Disney Cruise Line (Check)
  • Give it another go to see if it is a good fit ( not a good fit)

I accomplished everything I set out to experience and my resume looks better because of it, I have now been a guest services coordinator, I am a Disney trainer and I received my one year pin!

I hope these posts are useful to some of you if not just an outlet for me.

My first day

My first day on the Disney Dream was amazing. We got up at 4am, to finish packing and then catch a bus to the port at 5:25am. There was only 18 of us now as the rest went to Miami the night before.

I had pre purchased some apples and strawberries for the morning because the food court doesn’t open till 6am. But I didnt end up eating it so I had to throw them out at port before we got on board.

We got to the port around 7:30am, we had to fill in an Ebola checklist and have our passports cleared by security. We then had to unload all our luggage and line it up while we stood apart from it and it was sniffed by police dogs for drugs and explosives. After which we went through luggage screening/customs and boarded the ship. We left our luggage in the forward while we went to a training classroom to be welcomed to the ship that first day was hard.

We started with welcome and handed over our passports, they are securely locked away for the duration of our contracts. We also then had a ship tour and were told our room numbers and a map and had to find them ourselves. Our training officer Marie helped me with my bags because I had a million of them and was visibly struggling. We then had a compulsory safety class, only 1 person fell asleep and had to re do it which apparently is amazing. This was followed by a safety walk around the ship showing us all of our assembly points and explaining the fire doors and water tight doors.

Today was my first meal in the crew mess and it was actually really nice, I was preparing for a lot worse so I was pleasantly suprised. After lunch we had the first of many security classes. We finished early and so I went to my cabin and made my bed. I discovered I was on the top bunk, which is what happens if you are new. The original roomate gets the bottom and you get the top.

At 4pm we had our picture with Mickey and watched the sailing away party as we departed port canaveral for the first time of or contract. After that we went back to the training room where our individual leaders met us and took us to costuming and I was fitted for my costume and told to come back the next day. After this we stopped into the guest service office and I met some of my co-workers.

Thankfully this was all I was asked to participate in for the day. I went and had dinner, showered and was asleep by 8:30pm.

My first day was exhausting but successful, I was still excited about life on board and learning my role and meeting new people.

Disney Dream shoreside training

I arrived in Orlando at midnight on the 27th of October, after I checked in at my resort I headed up to my room to met my roommate.

I was staying in building 7 which is a little distance from the main lobby, so I pushed my overstuffed luggage and carryon up to the building and took the elevator to the fourth floor. My roommates name is Larissa and she is Russian Australian. She will be working in merchandise on board the dream. I had a shower and went to bed exhausted.

The next day I met up with a few of my friends from Disney and they took me shopping at target, where I bought all my toiletries and a few snacks to get me through. I spent around $165 USD. We then went to moes for burritos for lunch. We also stopped at Walmart and the dollar store for the stuff i had forgotten. We then spent the afternoon at downtown Disney before headed back to the resort do I could get some sleep.

That night I couldn’t sleep at all, I got around an hours sleep before a pain in my ankle woke me up and wouldn’t let me go back to sleep. It was throbbing on the bottom outside of my right foot it felt like I had bruised my tendon and it was really painful.

That morning we had to be in the lobby at 7:30am to get our new Disney Ids and I had to hand in my old one. For our first day of work we stood in the lobby at pop for around half an hour before they bused us to celebration where we sat for half an hour and some people filled out some paperwork. Then they bused us back to pop century and the rest of our day was ours.

I let my self get talked into going to magic kingdom with some of my new co workers, magic as predicted was crazy busy, we went on space mountain and are at pinnocchios village haus. We walked the entire park and then caught the monorail to EPCOT. After a ride on spaceship earth I met up with a friend of mine and left the group to their own devices. After which we went back to the pool at pop century and had a cider by the pool to cool off.

That night I slept like a baby. Thank goodness because I was exhausted. All my travel had finally caught up with me I think. we got up at 7am this time to get ready for traditions which started at 8:10am, at least the bus was there to pick us up at this time it then took us too Disney university where we spent the next 8 hours learning about Disney heritage, tools to make your job easier and a brief visit to magic kingdom to see the basics in action. After traditions we headed back to pop to re pack!

We had to catch the bus at 5am the following day so we all got an early night. Up at 4am to drag our luggage around to the bus stop and head on wards to port canaveral !